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20 January 2009


Aixtron and Ovonyx partner to develop AVD for phase-change memory

Aixtron AG of Aachen, Germany and Ovonyx Inc of Rochester Hills, MI, USA have announced an agreement to cooperate on the qualification of atomic vapor deposition (AVD) process technology to further advance scaling of next-generation phase change memory (PCM) products. As Flash and DRAM both encounter increasing scaling challenges in the face of shrinking chip geometries, PCM is widely considered to be a practical alternative for future commercial, high-volume memory.

“Aixtron’s leading market position in thin-film deposition equipment for the semiconductor industry provides an excellent platform for competitive development of new phase-change material by AVD technique for next-generation, high-density confined cell PCM device structures,” says Ovonyx’s president & CEO Tyler Lowrey. “We look forward to working with Aixtron to develop conformal deposition processes that will further enhance the commercialization of PCM products by worldwide chipmakers,” he adds.

“PCM is on the verge of commercial adoption using conventional sputter physical vapor deposition (PVD) techniques, however it is clear that subsequent-generation PCM cells would significantly benefit from atomic vapor deposition of phase-change materials to further increase scalability and accelerate cost reductions,” says Dr Bernd Schulte, Aixtron’s executive VP & chief operating officer. “We believe that, working with Ovonyx, we can accelerate commercialization of AVD phase-change material deposition into high-volume production and offer chip manufacturers higher productivity and low cost of ownership.”

Ovonyx was formed with the charter to commercialize the proprietary phase-change semiconductor memory technology of its largest shareholder, Energy Conversion Devices Inc, which invented and pioneered the development of phase-change memory technology, gaining a fundamental understanding of PCM operation, including devices, materials, processing, design, modeling, and performance. Ovonyx’s PCM technology uses a reversible phase-change memory process that provides for high-performance, dense, array-addressed semiconductor memory technology that can be used as cost-effective Flash and DRAM device replacements, as well as in embedded applications such as microcontrollers and reconfigurable MOS logic.

The nonvolatile PCM technology offers much faster write and erase speeds through its capability for byte-write in either direction (avoiding the need to erase a block to write a bit), higher cycling endurance, and better scaling performance with new generations of photolithography than conventional Flash or DRAM memory. Relative to DRAM, PCM eliminates the refresh power by retaining its memory without power. PCM also has the advantage of a simple fabrication process that allows the design of chips with embedded nonvolatile memory using only a few additional mask steps.

Ovonyx is pursuing commercialization of its array-addressed memory systems through licenses and joint development programs with semiconductor manufacturers including BAE Systems, Intel Corp, ST Microelectronics, Elpida Memory, Samsung Electronics, Qimonda AG, and Hynix Semiconductor Inc.

See: Aixtron Company Profile

Search: Aixtron AVD Phase change memory



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